The Trek of Hope – Philippines 2016

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This is the third year I have visited the Philippines representing Trek For Hope, and in many ways it still feels like every step I take is a first footstep. Every year I feel like we get closer to the goal of providing a hand up to all those who need it, yet so many find themselves in circumstances which many would consider to be unfathomable.

We do this not to bring glory to ourselves, but to give glory for the hopes, efforts, and daily striving of the people we were so privileged to serve. As with every trip like this, my heart has been changed in numerous ways.

Here is our 2016 journey.  Come join us. [Read more…]

Trek For Hope, Philippines 2016 – sharing by the Kwok sisters

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By Samatha Kwok, 12

To be honest, this climbing mountains trip was pretty fun; I made new friends like Aunt Bew, aunt Lay Hoon, brother Peter and sister Lydia, Even the 笨笨 trio who made jokes and uncle Mike sim who taught us to improve our brains took extremely good care of my sister and me.

The climbing part taught me to persevere and to work hard in order to achieve our dreams and………. most importantly, believing in ourselves.

After at that, if there was one thing I will have to learnt which meant the most to me, it was ‘ gratefulness ‘. I am 12 and I don’t really fully understand the true meaning behind this word. I learnt it after our trip to smoky mountains, it’s not just a word in fact it’s the actions we do, thee feelings we feel and the thoughts we think.

Their thoughts every day is to worry what they are going to eat? How they are going to bathe and how do we get water to drink. Most of the people in Singapore take things for granted as we have money, but can money buy everything? Happiness?  love? [Read more…]

Sagada! That summer of 2015 – Trek For Hope, Philippines

11124716_10152840118297972_4189350925836511685_nFor generations before Jun Binalet, the main livelihood for the family in the Mountain Province, Philippines has been woodcarving. From animals to bird creatures to the bulol, or “Ifugao rice god,”  a carved human figurine, these lifeforms of sculpture – a source of pride depicting the indigenous nature  of the Corderilla people – are made mainly from the finest Acacia wood.

This traditional art of carving seems to have lost on Jun, 33, who is the father of 4 daughters. His main livelihood now is a driver and guide for both local and overseas tourists. [Read more…]

The hardest mountain to climb – The Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila

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Maybe it was the afternoon shower that took place which washed away the top soil, revealing broken glass and rusted electrical cables strewn everywhere. Maybe those things can be seen every day. I don’t know. What I do know is that the sight of these items made our entire team pay extra attention to where we placed each footstep that day.

I’m focused on watching where I walk, but every so often I find myself lifting my head to see the world around me. The most amazing thing I see is the speed and agility of 2 local children walking where we walk amongst the broken glass and rusted item. One child has bare feet, completely oblivious to the dangerous foreign matters on the ground all around us. [Read more…]

Portraits from Smokey Mountain – Trek for Hope Philippines 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMdm Corazon Encalldo in all her 26 years,has lived in the slums of Tondo. Born in the original  Smokey Mountain, she and her family were forced to relocate when redevelopment plans for low-cost housing were made at the original site.

Home was the New Smokey Mountain along the Manila waterfront for the next decade until yet another government development plan for the area forced her and family to move into the Aroma slum area, ironically named “Happy Complex”.  [Read more…]

Trekking Mount Ugo, Philippines: Finding Christmas In the Mountains

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It almost came without warning. 3 days before we were due to leave for the city of Davao in the state of Mindanao, Philippines, we received a message from our guide that a typhoon called HAGUPIT (RUBY) was making its way into the central Philippines.

Typhoon Ruby, initially forecasted as a Category 5 storm – similar in strength as Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which claimed 6,000 lives in November 2013, got everyone in a panic mode. After all, it was only exactly 2 years ago that another typhoon named Bopha claimed 1,000 lives in Mindanao, where our quest to climb the Philippines’ highest peak, Mount Apo, happened to be. [Read more…]

Trek For Hope 2015: Cordillera Mountain Adventures (18 to 23 March 2015)

8349097182_8d4d6b9227_kTrek For Hope is returning to Philippines next year 18 to 23 March. This time we will be spending 4D 3N at the scenic and culturally rich town of Sagada, followed by a 1D community programme with Ivan & Maureen at old Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Philippines.

You can see the archives of our previous TFH trips here or read our Philippines story [Read more…]

Trek For Hope – New Smokey Mountain, Philippines by Noah Chan

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“People don’t take trips, trips take people”

It is heartening to know that 5 months since our inaugural Trek for Hope trip – climbing Mount Pulag and visitation to the New Smokey Mountain in the Philippines, memories are still fresh in the minds of the participants and the impact of this trip has been far reaching. Besides sharing their photos on social media, we also know of participants sharing their personal experiences during companies’ informal meetings and some even conducting fund raising for the people of New Smokey Mountain.

In the latest release of the Law Gazette – an official publication of the Law Society, Noah Chan, a dear participant of the TFH team, shares his experiences from the trip with the legal fraternity of Singapore. [Read more…]

BREAKING: The End of New Smokey Mountain & A Special Appeal

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It is with a heavy, yet hopeful heart that I share this news with you. The demolition of New Smokey Mountain has begun, leaving less than 10% of the homes that were once there. There were often 2 or even 3 families living in each home, so the displacement of people is very discouraging. Many are homeless right now. [Read more…]